Black People and Sunburn

Black People and Sunburn
When you think of sunburn, you typically think of a pale, freckled person, not someone with black skin. But people with black skin can get a sunburn right along side their friend with pale skin. It’s true! Sure, it isn’t as easy to get a sunburn if you have dark skin verses fair skin, but the risk is still there. sun safety tips

The risk of Sunburn has to do with the melanin in your skin. Dermatologists rank all of us in a skin pigment level depending on your melanin level. Melanin is the pigment in your hair, skin and eyes that give color. Those with lighter skin have less melanin than those with darker skin.

Where do you fit?

Type I: Pale white skin – always burns, never tans
Type II: White skin – Burns easily, tans minimally
Type III: White skin – Burns minimally, tans easily
Type IV: Light brown or olive skin – Burns minimally, tans easily
Type V: Brown skin – Rarely burns, tans easily and darkly
Type VI: Dark brown or black skin – Rarely burns, always tans, deeply pigmented
Re-read Type V and VI. Rarely, not never. People who fall into the types IV, V, and VI can look so different depending on many things, including nationality, so if you don't know your skin type, ask your doctor next time you go in.

So what does that mean for sunscreen and sun safety?

It means you aren’t immune to sunburn no matter what anyone tells you. Are you going to get a sunburn every time you’re in the sun? Probably not. Do you need to stress about applying sunscreen every 2 hours so you don’t burn? Definitely less stress. But sunscreen isn’t optional. Just because it is rare doesn’t mean it won’t happen.

how to treat a sunburn

Sunburn on black skin looks different than sunburn on fair skin – the redness isn’t there so it isn’t as obvious to people, but tightness, pain, skin that is hot to the touch and peeling later on are all indicators that you have or have had a sunburn. And getting just one blistering sunburn ups your chance of skin cancer. uva and uvb rays - what's the difference?

Click here for informaion about Black Skin and Skin Cancer, Melanoma or Skin Cancer Facts.